by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 33
Remington’s model 33 single shot .22 was their first bolt action rimfire.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • New versus old
  • Irony
  • The second test
  • Summary

Remember what I wrote about the range last Friday — how everything went bad for me? Well I did manage to test my HW85 and one other rifle. That rifle was my venerable Remington model 33.

New versus old

You may recall that I bought a nice example of the Remington 33, to hopefully replace my current rifle that’s rusted up. I was thinking that with a better barrel the new rifle would really show up the tired old bolt action I only bought to burn up discarded range ammo.

I was out on the 50-yard range, so I decided to try my luck with both rifles shooting the CCI standard velocity long rifle cartridge. First up was the old rust 33. You will recall that I had cleaned the barrel of this old beater for the first time in anticipation of this test. Well, I had forgotten to bring my reading glasses to the range, so the sights were quite blurry. Still, I did my very best and with the tired old 33 I put 5 into 2.293-inches at 50 yards. The rounds hit a little above the bull I was aiming at. That was a good start, so now let’s switch over to the nicer 33 I just bought.

Remington 50-yard target
My old rusty Remington 33 put 5 CCI bullets into 2.293-inches at 50 yards.

Five CCI standard speed rounds from the new Remington 33 landed in — well, I don’t actually have a target to show you. They hit a lot higher than the bull I was aiming at. In fact, one round actually hit the target above the one I was shooting at. Remember that extra shot on the HW85 target last week?

Crosman Premier sled group
The hole with the circle around it, marked “No” is a hole from the new Remington 33. It was fired at a target about 8 inches below.

I will guess the new 33 put five rounds into 5 or 6 inches at 50 yards. I didn’t save the target, but I know it wasn’t as good as the target from the old 33 that’s shown above.

Irony

Okay. Now you can laugh. My rusty old rifle that I bought cheap to shoot up range-found ammo out-shoots the same model rifle in very nice shape that I paid a lot more for. The irony is not lost on me.

But one test does not a conclusion make. So, I decided to test both rifles at 10 meters with the Aguila CB caps that started this quest many weeks ago. Surely that would tell me something!

The second test

The second test was conducted indoors, at 10 meters off a sandbag rest. This time I did have the reading glasses that enable me to see both sights and the target. I shot the Aguila CB cap that has a priming charge, only. It’s as quiet as a low-powered breakbarrel and we discovered in Part 1 that it propels its 20-grain bullet at 391 f.p.s. for an average 6.79 foot pounds.

First up was the old 33. Three of the rounds didn’t go off on the first strike of the firing pin. I had to extract them and turn the cartridges to let the firing pin hit the rim in a different place the second time. All went off on the second try.

This rifle managed to put 10 rounds into 0.593-inches at 10 meters. I have to say — that is very accurate! And this rifle is already sighted-in with this round. That’s exactly what I was hoping for in a go-to rimfire using CB caps.

Ol;d Remington 10-meter target
My tired old Remington 33 put 10 rounds into 0.593-inches at 10 meters. I guess it can shoot!

Ahh, but would the new 33 beat it? Well, on the first shot I hear a definite pause between the ignition of the round and the bullet impacting the trap. Plain talk — it sounded weak. Really weak!

Nine shots later I had the answer. The new Remington 33 put 10 rounds into 2.609-inches, making a very vertical group. I can tell just by looking at this group that the rounds are not igniting uniformly, which causes differences in their velocity. In short, this rifle will never be accurate with any ammo. It also grouped vertically at the 50-yard range.

new Remington 10 meter target
Ten Colibri CB caps made this vertical group that measures 2.609-inches at 10 meters. This isn’t even close to what the older rifle will do.

The question is — could I do anything about it? I wondered what would happen if I swapped the bolt from the old rifle in the action of the new one. Would that give better ignition?

This time I decided to shoot just 5 times, and then see what sort of group I got. Well, five was all it took. The new rifle with the old rifle bolt installed put 5 Colibri CB caps into a very vertical 4.117 inches at 10 meters. I don’t need to test any farther. The new rifle is not as accurate as the old one, and swapping the bolts only made it worse.

new Remington old bolt 10 meter target
The nail in the coffin. When I used the old bolt in the new rifle, 5 rounds landed in 4.117-inches at 10 meters.

Summary

I started this series to show how a .22 CB cap does in a single shot rifle. A side trip along the way — where I bought what I thought was a better version of the same rifle — taught me that sometimes accurate guns are simply that — accurate beyond any explanation.

This series was an eye-opener for me. I hope it was for you, as well. I don’t often have results as humbling as these, and I’m glad you got to see them as they unfolded.